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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-01-15

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek, Albanian defence ministers reaffirm willingness for closer bilateral cooperation
  • [02] Greece reports 691 mln euros primary surplus in 2013

  • [01] Greek, Albanian defence ministers reaffirm willingness for closer bilateral cooperation

    ANA-MPA -- Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and his visiting Albanian counterpart Mimi Kodeli on Tuesday reaffirmed the mutual willingness of Greece and Albania to deepen and further strengthen bilateral cooperation for the benefit of all the peoples of the "long-suffering region of southeastern Europe." The two ministers described their talks as useful, constructive and effective. Avramopoulos referred to the historic and strong ties of friendship between Greece and Albania, saying that their relations were based on the principles of mutual respect, sincerity and trust. He referred, in particular, to the Greek minority in Albania and the Albanians working in Greece. In parallel, he spoke of a new start in cooperation between the two countries in the defence sector and revealed that Greece and Albania will sign a new defence cooperation agreement at the end of August. The Greek defence minister said Greece was prepared to assist in the reconstruction of the Albanian armed forces and reiterated Greece's support for Albania's European perspective, expressing hope that accession talks with the EU will soon begin. Kodeli referred to Greece as an important partner of Albania, stressing that "we are committed to strengthening cooperation with Greece." She also thanked Greece for its support of Albania's efforts to join the EU. Listing the areas of cooperation between the Greek and Albanian defence ministries, she said these would concern education and training, Albania's participation in joint exercises in the framework of NATO, the holding bilateral exercises, the participation Albanian forces in the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Centre in Souda, Greek officers attending Albania military schools and the teaching of Greek to Albanian officers. A total of 35 Albanian officers are currently attending Greek military academies and recently two Greek officers graduated from Albania's higher military academy. Earlier, Kodeli was received by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens.

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    [02] Greece reports 691 mln euros primary surplus in 2013

    ANA-MPA -- The Greek budget presented a primary surplus of 691 million euros (on a revised cash basis) in 2013 from a primary deficit of 3.464 billion euros in 2012 and a budget target for a primary surplus of 15 million euros, Finance Alternate Minister Christos Staikouras said on Tuesday.

    Presenting a report on budget execution in 2013, Staikouras said the primary surplus figure paved the way to achieving a general government primary surplus of more than 800 million euros.

    The general government's cash deficit fell to 5.353 billion euros in the January-December period, from a deficit of 15.688 billion euros in 2012 and a revised budget target for a deficit of 6.085 billion euros in 2013. "Budget execution confirms and strengthens our estimates for the year. The country, after many years and with the huge sacrifices of the Greek society, will achieve a primary surplus, sooner than expected. A surplus, which in structural terms, is the highest in Europe," he said.

    The government aims to use the biggest part of this primary surplus to support the weakest groups of the society.

    Budget revenues totaled 52.914 billion euros, down 0.6 pct form a revised budget target, reflecting lower revenues in a public investment program in December (down 79 pct). Regular budget revenues totaled 48.339 billion euros, up 0.5 pct compared with official estimates.

    Tax revenues totaled 44.339 billion euros, down 0.1 pct from budget provisions. Tax returns were down 2.8 pct from budget targets.

    State budget spending totaled 58.267 billion euros in 2013, down 1.061 billion euros from a revised budget target. Regular budget spending was 51.617 billion euros, down 1.060 billion euros from a revised target, or down 16.1 pct from 2012.

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